Jayson Myers
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Please check out my other reviews at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145695/item/2728438#it...



Conclusion:

Battle Merchants was a game I got on a whim. The more I read about it, the more interested I became. I became very excited to get this game to the table. Usually when my expectations become too high, the game must let me down. Battle Merchants did not let me down.

Battle Merchants is the rare economic game that does not feel like a spreadsheet. The theme is plastered all over this game and the board is colorful and fun to look at. While the game appears to be very simple (build and sell weapons), there is a nuance to when to buy the craft cards and when to take a kingdom card. You are limited how many kingdom cards you can have, so choosing the correct cards to maximize your score is so important.

Battle Merchants keeps the main mechanics simple and easy to understand and the more you play the more layers are added. I really enjoyed this game a lot and it might be one of my favorite games. This could be a great gateway to mid range economic game. The game never felt stale and never felt boring. Even though I knew we were playing an economic game, it never felt like it. That is a huge plus for most players.

The theme really shines through to me on an abstract level. Everything is connected from building stronger weapons to having those weapons perform well on the battlefield and having that Orc come back to repair his axe.

The game lasted about the right length of time. We did have a runaway leader problem, but I think that had more to do with not blocking the positions on the board we should have. You really need to watch what spots are open and the reward tokens can make someone score. Blocking could be a good strategy. The players do have control over when the game ends and can make it go faster or longer depending on the choices made.

Keeper.



Components:

I really liked the bits in the box and there was a lot of them. There are a lot of chits in this box, but once organized it is just a few piles of a lot of chits.

First off, I really like the art in this game. It is a fun fantasy theme. Everything is very colorful and very appealing. You get some classic wooden cubes which are nice.

The player boards are very colorful and includes very fun art. The board and the players boards are double sided for different number of players. I am super happy with the art and the components. Top notch job!

The only complaint I had was it was nearly impossible to know what was a winter card vs a summer card. The book didn't explain it (I had to look it up online).



Rule Book:

The rules are very good. They are full color with plenty of examples. There are pictures of all the components and a list of all the components. The rules are clear and concise. There are rules for a 2 player game in the back of the book. I had zero issues with the rule book. The only rule I could not find in the book was whether to replenish the card after it is bought/taken (craft and kingdom). We played it you did as it seemed to make the most sense. I have no idea if we did this right or not.



Flow of the Game:

I will do my best to keep this short. Most money wins the game.

Possible actions:

1. Upgrade craft: take/buy craft cards; these make your weapons more powerful and also allow you to make weapons

2. Make weapons: you can make up to 3 weapons (just pay the cost and have the craft card to do so)

3. Take a kingdom card: Yes, just take one; some are temp and some are permanent

4. Sell weapons: you can only sell one per action; you get a bonus if you sell to a certain race or at a certain location; ex: when you sell to an Elf, you get a Elf Reward token that will give you a bonus next time you sell to an elf

The board is set up for certain races on the battlefield at certain locations which certain demand. The board has different locations (mountains, grass, etc), different races (elves, dwarves, etc) and certain demand (axe, sword, etc).

You have to meet the demand of what is required. So if you have an axe to sell, you may make more money selling it to an Elf on a mountain than a Hobglobin in the forest. Supply and demand.

Once the end of the round is triggered (by so many battles ready to occur), you then perform all the battles. They are very simple. The stronger weapon wins. If your weapon loses, you flip the tile over and start a collection of these weapons that were lost. At the end of the game, who ever has the most gets X VP and 2nd most gets Y VP. If you win, you will get 2 coins (which are really VP). If your weapon wins, they stay on the battlefield (and lives to fight another day!).

The game last for four rounds (each of the seasons).

There are a few other rules, but this is the main flow of the game. You are trying to make and then sell weapons based on the demand on the board. The craft cards will allow your weapons to be more powerful. The kingdom cards will help you through the game and/or give you VP at the end of the game. When to buy, when to sell, when to create is the name of the game.

There are additional rules for Vorpal steel, becoming a craftsman, but honestly the game is really simple after a round of the game. There is nothing complicated about this game and I really feel this game can be played with gamers and non-gamers.



Should I buy this game?:

Yes, I highly recommend this game. If you only like dry economic games, I would say pass. If you like games that are easier to play and a good light to mid range game, then this is for you. If you do not like economic games, you may still like this game. I can even see a family playing this game.

I really, really liked this game. I highly recommend this game. Buy this game. Try this game. This is one of the best economic games I have played in a long time. I really enjoyed this game and will not hesitate to bring this game out with anyone.

Keeper.
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Gil Hova
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Thanks for the kind words!

Regarding replacing cards, you replenish up to 3 Kingdom Cards and 5 Craft Cards at the beginning of the next player's turn (rulebook page 3, "Player Turns"). This makes a difference with Kingdom Cards like Extra Crafty, Hoarder, and Drive the Workers.
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Jayson Myers
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Do you also add cards when someone takes one?
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Dylan Nichols
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Looking forward to playing this. Hopefully this week!
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Gil Hova
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william4192 wrote:
Do you also add cards when someone takes one?


No, only at the start of the next player's turn.
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Adam Blinkinsop
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Quote:
If your weapon loses, you get 1 VP for end of game.

I think this is incorrect. The defeated weapons go to the victor, and the player with the most defeated weapon points gets a bonus at the end, right?
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Gil Hova
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blinks wrote:
Quote:
If your weapon loses, you get 1 VP for end of game.

I think this is incorrect. The defeated weapons go to the victor, and the player with the most defeated weapon points gets a bonus at the end, right?


That's correct. If your weapon loses, your opponent takes the tile and flips it over to show the number 1 (for Standard) or 2 (for Vorpal). The player with the highest total of Defeated Weapons at the end of the game gets 15 coins, second place gets 5.
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Adam Blinkinsop
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Oh, good. I was worried we were playing wrong. Great game!
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Jayson Myers
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blinks wrote:
Quote:
If your weapon loses, you get 1 VP for end of game.

I think this is incorrect. The defeated weapons go to the victor, and the player with the most defeated weapon points gets a bonus at the end, right?


Fixed. We played it right, I don't know why I said differently in the review. Thanks.
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